Edit

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (3)  | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Leadville, Colorado, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJune Beulah Hughes

Mini Bio (1)

June Mathis was born June Beulah Hughes in 1887 in Leadville, Colorado. Her father died at a young age and her mother married William Mathis. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, which she would proudly consider her hometown for the rest of her life.

At the age of 13 she pursued a career in vaudeville, doing imitations and dances. She had success in San Francisco and eventually played The Orpheum. Her stage career grew over the next few years, bringing her good reviews and much acclaim. In 1908 she played with Julian Eltinge in "Brewster's Millions" and in 1912 joined him in "The Fascinating Widow", which was a major success.

After a brief one-time foray in front of the camera in 1910 (or possibly 1911), Mathis decided she would like to be behind the camera. After two years of self-prescribed study she submitted a script in a screenwriting contest. Even though she didn't win, Mathis received several offers. She took one from Edwin Carewe, and her first produced script was for the film The House of Tears (1915).

Mathis signed with Metro Pictures, where she quickly rose in the ranks. By 1918 she was writing for the studio's biggest stars, such as Francis X. Bushman, Viola Dana, Mae Murray and Alla Nazimova. Mathis became head of the scenario department, making her the first female film executive ever.

In 1920 she began work on The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), a film that was hers from casting to crew to writing to production. For a director she chose Rex Ingram, and for the role of Julio she chose a small-time actor named Rudolph Valentino. The film was a major success and launched Ingram, Mathis and Valentino into superstardom. It was the top-grossing film of 1921 (beating out Charles Chaplin's The Kid (1921)), made $9 million during its original run and was the sixth highest-grossing silent of all time.

Mathis and Valentino were good friends until a disagreement in 1924 over The Hooded Falcon (1924), but they reconciled before his death in 1926. Mathis moved with Valentino to Famous Players-Lasky, where she wrote Blood and Sand (1922), The Young Rajah (1922) and The Spanish Dancer (1923) (originally intended for Valentino). "Blood and Sand" was a huge success, becoming one of the top 4 grossing movies of 1922 and a defining film for Valentino, his co-star Nita Naldi and Mathis.

After Valentino embarked on his one-man strike, Mathis signed with Goldwlyn Pictures as an editorial director. She was in charge of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) in the same way she had been for "The Four Horsemen". However, director Charles Brabin did not see it that way and the production was a disaster, eventually Brabin was fired and replaced by Fred Niblo and all the film that had been shot, including all of the expensive location work done in Italy, had to be scrapped and the production begun from scratch. After a year at Goldwyn Mathis left for First National. There she was again an executive, this time writing comedies (something she enjoyed doing) for Colleen Moore and Corinne Griffith.

After her rift with Valentino she married Silvano Balboni, who she met while filming "Ben-Hur". After First National Mathis was rumored to be writing for UA or MGM once again, but neither came to be; she died unexpectedly in 1927 at the age of 40 from a heart ailment (from which she had suffered all her life) while watching a performance on Broadway.

She was buried next to Valentino, who had died the year before, severely in debt. Mathis had loaned him the crypt but by the 1930s the arrangement became permanent. Balboni sued Mathis' 84-year-old grandmother for her estate over a technicality, causing her to lose the inheritance Mathis had intended for her. He returned to Italy in the 1930s, and her grandmother died in 1933.

Mathis was not only responsible for Valentino's superstardom but for his love of art in film, and his beliefs in spirituality as well. Today she is mostly forgotten but when she died she was the third most powerful woman in Hollywood (outranking the 3 other major women screenwriters: Anita Loos, Frances Marion and Jeanie Macpherson). She was also a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hala Pickford

Spouse (1)

Silvano Balboni (6 December 1924 - 26 July 1927) ( her death)

Trade Mark (1)

Her use of mystical themes in her scripts

Trivia (8)

Suffered a fatal heart attack while watching a performance of the Broadway play "The Squall" at the old 48th St. Theater with her mother. The performance came to a halt when Mathis suddenly screamed out, "Oh, mother, I'm dying." She was carried out to the theater alley, where she was pronounced dead.
Did not actually edit Erich von Stroheim's masterpiece Greed (1924) from ten hours to 2-1/2. She was instructed by Metro to cut the film and left a memo about the matter to a regular editor, Joseph Farnham, who did the actual cutting. Mathis had worked with Stroheim before and admired the themes in his work.
One of the highest paid executives in Hollywood while she was alive.
Discovered Rudolph Valentino.
Was a Spiritualist.
Enjoyed writing comedies though she is more known for her dramatic films.
Was voted the third most important woman in Hollywood by AMPAS in 1926. Only Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge outranked her.
In 2009 the first in-depth biography on June Mathis was published by Hala Pickford in "Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon".

Personal Quotes (3)

I had the German officers coming down the stairs with women's clothing on. To hundreds of people that meant no more than a masquerade party. To those who have lived and read, and who understand life, that scene stood out as one of the most terrific things in the picture
If you are vibrating on the right plane, you will inevitably come in contact with the others who can help you. It's like tuning in on your radio. If you get the right wave-length, you have your station.
[on how she picked actors for her films] I first notice the eyes. There I find what I call soul, and by this alone, I judge.

Salary (2)

Sally (1925) $1,000 a week
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) $750 a week

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page


Recently Viewed